Three different readers over the last few days have asked about Texas Rangers rookie Tommy Field, who came to the majors when Rougned Odor was sent down last week. Field has hit two homers in his first eight games with the Rangers. He is an older prospect at age 28; does he have any sort of long-term value for Texas, or anyone else?
Field was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 24th round in 2008 from Texas State University. His junior season was impressive statistically (.338/.418/.579) but he was seen as more of an organization roster-fodder type than a top prospect in terms of tools. He didn't do much in 2008 or 2009 but he improved in 2010, hitting .284/.397/.466 for Modesto in the High-A California League.
Of course, that's the Cal League and "breakouts" there are often illusionary and he was still seen as an organization player.
He moved up to Double-A Tulsa in 2011 and remained effective, hitting .271/.357/.439 with 17 homers. This was enough to move him from org player into fringe prospect status. He received an unexpected promotion to the Rockies major league roster and wasn't horrid, hitting .271/.314/.271. . .no power but he wasn't completely over-matched and his defense looked pretty good. I had a chance to see him play a couple of times for Tulsa that summer and he was fairly interesting, particularly with the glove, leading to this comment in the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book:
Tommy Field has the best name for a second baseman since Chip Hale in the 1990s. Hale was a scrappy second baseman without big tools who got himself to the majors through sheer force of will. Field is the same type of player. A 24th round pick in 2008 from Texas State University, Field has some pop in his bat (more than Chip did), although that sometimes works against him when he gets too power-conscious. He is a very fine second baseman; very reliable around the bag, with quick hands and excellent positioning. He’s not bad at shortstop, with so-so range but a surprisingly strong, accurate throwing arm. He’s fun to watch and could be a decent utility infielder. Grade C.
Field moved on to the Angels system in 2013, hit well in Triple-A (.303/.391/.484) but not so well in another big league trial (.154/.185/.154 in 26 at-bats). He spent all of 2014 in Triple-A but now he's back in the majors, this time with his home state team.
I think the report from 2012 still holds up well. Field is a very good gloveman at second base and not horrible at shortstop. He has some power in his bat but sometimes that works against him when he gets too aggressive about trying to tap it. He's not going to win batting championships or post .400 (or even .350) OBPs, but it seems plausible he could hit .240-..250 with just enough pop and defensive contributions to be interesting as a bench player and emergency starter.
Field is basically a 25th/26th man and will likely spend the next few years bouncing between Triple-A and the majors. You can make a living doing that. Maybe he will be a coach or manager someday, like Chip Hale.